When plotting the next phase of our trip over beers in Florianopolis, Steve, Lev and myself agreed that the coolest way to arrive in Buenos Aires would be by boat from Montevideo. It would also allow us all to say we’d been to Uruguay should anyone ever ask (it’s a question that’s posed regularly in London). So the decision was made and we got a bus down from Floripa all the way though to Montevideo (actually it was two buses, we had to change in Porto Alegre in southern Brazil).

Our day and night in Montevideo was pretty uneventful. It seems a little bit harsh to judge the city on our experience as we didn’t give it that much of a chance to prove itself – but from the time we spent in the city it didn’t leave a huge impression on me. It was quite nice being in a city again after so long in beach towns in Brazil, and the old town was quite pretty – but we were all so excited about making it to Buenos Aires Montevideo just seemed a little limp. We had quite a good night out though. We met up with some guys from couchsurfing via a Californian guy staying in or dorm and they took us on a little nocturnal tour. It was cool to be hanging out with some locals, sharing a beer and avoiding tourist hotspots (not that there seemed to be too many of them). We ended up in a little local music bar, tucked away down a side street somewhere till about 4am, which was great until it came to our early start and boat to Buenos Aires…

Steve had slightly more sleep than Lev and myself, us taking the sensible option of trying to solider right through with more beers at our hostel bar. We weren’t quite the soldiers we thought we were however and both of us surrendered to sleep about 2 hours before we were due to get up. Although getting up was surprisingly easy! We jumped in a cab and headed for the port and after a few minutes we realised we’d accepted a ride from a complete nut case. He wasn’t at all threatening, you just got the impression that there might be a few worried mental health professionals somewhere in Montevideo looking for a lost patient. He was giggling to himself, making bird noises and shouting about ‘Bush’ ‘Bush’ Obama’ Obama’ – he also had a dirty towel on his lap which he had very carefully and deliberately put into position at the start of the ride. So in the ten minutes it took us to get to the port we’d all woken up a bit.

The port was very nice and we quickly bought our tickets and made it through customs, in fact it was the speediest and easiest customs experience of my life. One desk, two officials from either country – STAMP STAMP –  and we were officially in Argentina. If only all border crossing were this simple!

We’d decided to take the direct catamaran to Buenos Aires, rather than the more picturesque route via Colonia that so many people had recommended. Again this was our impatience to make it to Buenos Aires and we paid a bit more for the privilege. It didn’t turn out to be the best decision as when we got on board, it was packed it mothers and small babies (there must have been 30+). As soon as we left the port the babies all decided it was time to wail at the top of their lungs… one set off the next and so on and so on – this lasted all 3 and a half hours. We also realised on a catamaran there’s no deck to walk on, so there was no escape. It was quite a tortuous ride. Because of the babies you understand – nothing to do with the fact we’d stayed up all night of course.

I’ve since spoken to a few people who’ve done the Colonia trip and it sounds much much nicer, so if I did that journey again I’d definitely try that route. It’s quite a bit cheaper too. But we’d made it to Buenos Aires at last which was our main objective and the boat ride had at least allowed us time to work on our patience and tolerance. Viva Argentina!